I can’t believe I’ve left it so long to get back to home brewing my own beer – my last batch was over a year ago!
Home brewing was a hobby which I took up back in September 2014 because I wanted to do something different, which would not only give me joy but save me some money – it’s a fact that when I have home brew in the house, I spend far less or nothing on alcohol for home consumption. It isn’t an easy hobby but I think because of this, it’s a very satisfying one.
I only brew all-in-one premium kits, and the kit I made this time was Festival Razorback IPA. This was probably the first kit I’ve attempted where I was a little concerned that I’d done something wrong.
After three days, fermentation still hadn’t started and I thought that I’d messed up with the water temperature, ie too hot, destroying the yeast and I dreaded the possibility of having to pour the whole lot down the drain.
Turned out it was the other way round, my kitchen was so cold that the mix had dropped to too low a temperature for the yeast to do its stuff, so as well as using a brew belt to increase the temperature, I wrapped an old winter coat round the tub and piled towels on top and that did the trick!
The kit produced 40 bottles (20 litres/35 pints) and cost £26.50. So not accounting for the time spent doing the actual brewing, the cost of these beers work out at £0.66 per 500ml bottle or £0.76 a pint! Definitely happy hour! 🙂
Alcohol strength at over 5.5% is probably on the high side compared to what I usually drink but it still goes down easily! A good hoppy flavour, and this despite me not following the instructions exactly and leaving the hops in for just 4 days instead of the recommended 10 days, as I didn’t want to overdo the bitterness. From start to finish, this brew took just over 2 months before it was ready to drink and is likely to get better with time (that’s if I don’t drink them all quickly, haha!).
Obviously it’s nowhere near the quality of say BrewDog but it’s a decent beer with the important quality being that it pours with a good frothy head, which doesn’t disappear after a few minutes and which sticks to the side of the glass as you down the drink, just like a real pint you’d get in a pub! 🙂
I’ve now done 8 different beer kits and one cider kit. I had originally been planning to brew (and document) 10 different kits and then just reverting to brewing my favourites.
However, there are so many different kits out there, I may just keep going and trying new ones that catch my eye and picking up old favourites when I see them on offer.
Brewing as a Business
I can see me continuing with my brewing hobby and probably doing more of it when I no longer need to work.
Friends and colleagues have suggested that I should perhaps look into brewing as a proper business in the future (eg a microbrewery), but I’d rather not convert a hobby into a job.
Whilst it would be nice to earn money from a hobby, I just think that having deadlines and customer expectations would suck all the joy out of it. I’m happy just doing it for fun and sharing some of the fruits of my labour. My friends and colleagues are happy with the free beers they get off me but I reckon they might be a tad fussier if they had to pay!
I’ll leave the experts to rake in the profits that way!
I’ve promised a friend that I’ll do a cherry beer next – not something I would normally drink but I’ll give it a go in the next month or so.